Flight Finding Services
Google flights is my true love (sorry Eric). This is where I go to plan EVERYTHING. Out of all of the different websites out there, google flights is the end all, be all, in my mind. Google Flights offers a simple layout. Where do you want to go, when do you want to go, are your dates flexible, and here are your options. What I love about Google Flights is that they have price graphs that show you the cost of the same flight on different days which allows you to choose the absolute cheapest ticket available. I will often use the sites listed below to find initial cheap tickets, and then take that information to google to begin my true price breakdown and search. While other sites have the “Wow” factor of showing me the deals, google is where I go to find the specific flight that I will actually book.
Hopper is a cool app that will allow you to find cheap tickets. Hopper has a search engine function like many of the other sites that I will mention, but it is not my favorite. I want to mention Hopper though because it is a great resource for tracking flights as the prices change over time. Learning how prices change over time can be a great resource because it helps you become a more savvy travel planner. Hopper will send notifications of flight price changes directly to your phone! If you are tracking a specific location, this can be highly beneficial while you wait for that perfect price.
Sky Scanner is one of those awesome places on the internet that you go to when you are dreaming of the person that you want to be. I find myself on Sky Scanner whenever the wanderlust has become unbearable. The cool feature about Sky Scanner is that, not only can you scan for normal cheap flights, you can also click the magical “Everywhere” button. This magical button will search ALL locations within its system during the dates that you want to travel to find cheap flights to, well, everywhere. This is an awesome tool if you have no idea where you want to go, you just want to find somewhere awesome that is within your budget.
The best thing about Kiwi.com is NOMAD mode. Nomad mode is super unique because it tells you the CHEAPEST way to get to multiple locations in one trip. It will connect all of the locations that you are looking to go to and give you the cheapest option for flights connecting each of the different locations. For those of you who like to nomad it and wander to different cities or countries during one long trip, this is the site for you.
Another cool thing about Kiwi is that it, like skyscanner, has an “anywhere” mode. Anywhere mode is cool because it allows you to see many different options of places to travel for cheap prices during your time frame. I use this feature while planning trips and often use it to choose my destination.
One con that I have found with Kiwi is that it doesn’t actually have access to flights to every airport that other services have, but it’s an amazing resource.
Scott’s Cheap Flights
I’m OBSESSED with Scott’s Cheap Flights because Scott does the work for you! Scott’s Cheap Flights sends you email alerts when there are great prices on flights to all over the world, and they do it for FREE. I use this as a starting point for my research. They will send an email saying something like “March-June” Flights to India for $500. Then they will give a list of airports you can fly from and fly into with the cheapest price found during that time period. It’s pretty cool and super easy. You will get an email a few times a week from them. They have a premium service that you can pay for that has more deals, more emails, and cool features, but when it comes to saving money, I don’t want to add another subscription service to my budget.
Tips to Save Extra Money
Book on the website of the airline itself
Now that I have taken all of the time to list all of those amazing websites that will allow you to find the cheapest flight, I am going to shock you. Do NOT book from those sites. Use them to find the cheapest flight, and then go to the website of the actual airline in order to book the flight. The reason for this is that those companies take a fraction of the cut for advertising and searching and doing the work for you. This means that they are likely to raise the price by a few dollars here or there to cover their costs. You best option for buying a flight is always from the source. There is no middleman that needs to be paid, so you will get the true base price.
Book at the airport
As mentioned above, book at the airport to save money! By booking at the airport directly, you are able to avoid many of those service fees that they tack on when you purchase online. Those fees help pay for their internet systems, payment transfers, and other shenanigans, but flights are expensive enough without adding fees to them. If you live close to an airport and have the time, go book your flight in person to save at least $40 from some airlines!
One Dollar Flights
This is the moment that many of you are here for. The infamous and completely unbelievable ONE DOLLAR FLIGHTS. A little bit of information first: Many of these flights are not actually “One” dollar, if you find one, you are one lucky bug. However, these flights are INCREDIBLY cheap, think under $40 round trip or even $15 dollars round trip. How is this possible you may ask? Well, budget airlines like Spirit run into trouble when their flights are severely unfilled. This leads them to want to fill those seats in order to lower their margin of loss. That is when these ridiculously cheap flights come into play.
In order to obtain a flight for truly this cheap, you need to be able to avoid the fees that are tacked on. When you buy a plane ticket online, you will see these ridiculous things called “service fees” which, fun fact, are waived if you buy the ticket in person at the airport. That is the secret right there. Go to your local airport, walk up to the Spirit desk, ask about the dollar flights, be willing to go a location you might not have thought of before, and there you go! You will save, on average, $40 round trip JUST from not having a service fee. This tip helps you even if you aren’t hoping for a dollar flight. If you know what flight you want to go on, go to the airport and buy the ticket at the counter to say money.
Just so you know, the chances of getting an actual flight for a dollar are insanely low, but if you manage to do it, shoot me a message! I want to know!
Side note: This doesn’t have to be a “Day of” thing either! You are just more likely to find those drastic price cuts on the day when flights are leaving. If you’re down for packing your bag for a random place and just going, this is an awesome way to save money.
Read More: Breakdown of Spirit Airlines “Penny” Fares
When to find the cheapest flights
Book on Tuesdays
They say that Tuesday at 3:00pm is when tickets are the cheapest. Why? My guess is because many people are in the middle of their work day focusing on their real lives rather than planning to chase their dreams. Who knows if I am right, but I have found that Tuesdays are great times to buy tickets though.
Clear Your Cookies
This is a BIG one that most people don’t think about. Big brother is always watching. Airline companies READ your cookies, and Google wants to know everything it can about your spending habits. What are cookies? Cookies are essentially mini-versions of your internet history. If your cookies show that you have been doing a lot of research on flights lately, sites can read that and assume that you will be buying a ticket. They will then raise the price because they know that your demand is high. It’s sick really, but it’s life. Go to your google history and click the “Clear Cookies and Cache” option, and this will keep your online extortion from these companies at bay.
Try not to fly on a Sunday
This one I have learned the hard way. We all have to get back to work at some point in our lives. Because I am a teacher, I live off of weekend flights and short trips until summer rolls around. What I have found is that I can find a cheap Friday ticket no problem, but a cheap Sunday ticket can be near impossible. This is because many people are doing the same thing that I am trying to do: Get back to work on time Monday morning. If you can avoid buying a plane ticket on a Sunday, it may save you some money.
6 Week Rule
Experts also say that six weeks out from your intended departure date is the best time to buy tickets. Has this proved to work for me? Not really. It is a proven fact so it’s definitely worth looking into. However, I track flights through ALL of the systems listed above, and so I know what is a great deal. As soon as I see that magical deal for cheap flights, no matter how far out it is, I grab it, and you should too.
Be flexible with Dates if Possible
Now I don’t mean go out and date a random person off of Tinder. I mean, you shouldn’t flex on your standards in that case. What I do mean though is that if you don’t ABSOLUTELY have to fly on the exact dates you are looking for, shop around for a bit. Use the Google Price Graph to see if there are cheaper days to fly your same route. Sometimes I change a Friday flight to a Saturday flight because of this. I may lose a day of my vacation at the place, but saving $100 dollars sounds worth it to me.
Fly during the Off-Season
Flying during the Off-Season for that country is the Number One way to save money on that flight. In the end, airlines are run by supply and demand the same way the general economy is. This means that prices will drop when less people are flying into a country. Do your research when you want to visit a country and see whether or not it is the off-season. This is how I got a $390 round trip, DIRECT fight from Miami, Florida, to Milan, Italy. Not bad if I do say so myself. You can read more about this trip in these blog posts: Venice in 24 Hours and Hiking in Northern Italy.
Tips that are Basically Free Money
Read More: Ways to Earn Money Traveling
Get Bumped with WOW Air and Take the Voucher
This tip is specifically for WOW Air. Wow Airlines are an Iceland owned airline company that was created with the intention of bringing more tourists to Iceland. They are a budget airline, but they get you there safely. Almost every flight through WOW has a layover in Iceland. This means that you can actually plan a mini-vacation in Reykjavik because WOW is going to drop you off their anyway. This means, however, that they OFTEN overbook flights out of Iceland. While waiting in the Iceland airport, you will consistently hear things over the loud speakers like “We need volunteers to give up their seat on this flight.” They offer increasing awesome deals to those who take it, including FREE airfare and vouchers worth more than what you paid for your flight in the first place. Plus like, more time in Iceland can’t be that bad can it?
Airline miles. Airline miles. Airline miles.
I love airline miles. I just got back from my trip to South Korea where I flew round trip from Orlando, Florida, to Seoul, South Korea for $50. That’s right, FIFTY DOLLARS. That includes fees. My husband is the luckiest person in the world, one because he married me but also, because his company will fly him to countries to do business. They fly him in Business class and he gets to keep the airline miles for his own rewards program. This means that we get insane miles between my travel and his. Also, becoming a frequent flier to get a greater chance of being upgraded for free which is how I flew first-class from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Save up your airline miles. They may not seem like much, but if you book with the same company a lot, they will make a HUGE difference one day.
Personally, we like United’s points program.
No really. Ask me. It’s my goal in life to one day become a Personal Travel Planner that customizes itineraries for the individual based on everything the could ever want in a trip while finding the cheapest, most efficient way to do it. If you ever have a travel related question or need help planning a trip, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to get in touch with you!